Holidaymakers looking to get the best bang for their book are frequently told to plan in advance when it comes to the exchange rates. Yet, in a time when travel is increasingly becoming a last-minute affair, it seems planning could well be detrimental to your finances.
With the Government rapidly imposing restrictions on travel to certain destinations, such as the recent removal of Portugal form its travel corridor list, holidaymakers may find themselves unable to jet off and left with a wallet filled with international currency.
Couple this with constant exchange rate fluctuations at the hands of both the pandemic and ongoing Brexit uncertainty and its unlikely Britons will be able to secure a decent “buy-back rate”.
“Many people buy their holiday cash at a time when the rate is favourable even if that is months ahead of their actual trip,” said Paul Brewer, CEO of Currency Online Group.
“In normal times, this is very sensible as it locks in a good rate meaning they get more for their money.
“However, with unexpected changes in the quarantine rules week by week and with so much other uncertainty, this can leave you stuck with thousands of pounds worth of currency you can’t use.”
For Britons with impending holiday plans, doing some preparation will still be key.
“The best thing for people to do is to buy half of your travel cash early at a good rate,” continued the travel money expert.
“Then nearer the time of your holiday, weigh up the risks and potential for disruption to your travel plans.”
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Staying up-to-date on any relevant figures is a good way to identify how “at-risk” a holiday hotspot is.
The European Centre for Disease Control produces daily figures showing the number of cases per 100,000 in each country, and the subsequent number of deaths per 100,000 accumulative over the last 14 days.
The UK Government is currently looking for nations which have the same number of cases or countries with fewer cases than us – in this instance, these destinations are considered “safe”.
Countries with more than 20 cases per 100,000 people over a seven-day period could be at risk of being removed from the list.
Mr Brewer added: “Governments will normally be making noises about which countries they are considering to place on the quarantine list before they actually do so.
“If things still look ok for the country you are travelling to, then buy the rest of your cash.”
For travellers who have already purchased currency but are faced with cancelled holidays, the best thing to do is attempt to resell the currency.
Alas, rates will likely be much lower than when the cash was initially purchased, which means travellers will still face some form of loss.
“Many currency exchange firms offer a buy-back service where you can sell your unwanted travel cash,” said the travel money pro.
He recommends using an online service to hunt out the best rates.
“However, the rate won’t be the same as the rate at which you bought it,” he further warns.
“This means that some people can lose out through no fault of their own if they can no longer travel and need to sell their currency.”
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